Couperin, Rameau, Forqueray, Dandrieu & Duphly

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COMPOSERS: Couperin,Dandrieu & Duphly,Forqueray,Rameau
LABELS: Deux-Elles
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Franois Couperin Ð Les Délices de la Solitude
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Terence Charlston (harpsichord)
This programme of 18th-century French harpsichord music is a little misleading in its title. Though Couperin is indeed its focal point, there are also pieces by Rameau, Dandrieu, Duphly and Antoine Forqueray; and ‘Les délices de la solitude’ is the name of a sonata by Michel Corrette who is not represented here at all. Never mind, Terence Charlston’s recital is an attractive one, pleasingly constructed and played with idiomatic fluency. Couperin’s Third and Sixth Ordres or, loosely, ‘Suites’, are the chief beneficiaries of Charlston’s discerningly selective programme, and from the latter he includes both the composer’s enigmatically descriptive ‘Les baricades mistérieuses’ and the lovely ‘Les bergeries’, which was soon to find a place in the 1725 music-book which Bach compiled for his wife, Anna Magdalena. Less frequently heard are eight preludes which served a dual purpose of prefacing some of the earlier ordres and providing studies for Couperin’s pupils. Charlston has chosen two of them, introducing his recital with the Seventh and most elegiacally expressive of them. But his tempo struck me as being too slow, and the spirit too introspective, even if the intent was to establish the declared aura of solitude. Yet there is plenty to enjoy in an imaginative programme of morceaux favoris, even if I felt, a little too often, perhaps, that the approach was over-endowed with sobriety. Nicholas Anderson